The LEGO Foundation has awarded Sesame Workshop an “extraordinary” grant to further its mission of delivering critical play experiences to kids affected and displaced by humanitarian crises in Syria and Bangladesh.
Some of the world's most vulnerable children will be given access to learning through play thanks to the Danish toymaker’s $100 million financial commitment. It gives Sesame Workshop vital funds to reach a greater number of children in the impacted regions and positively impact their lives with early childhood and play-based learning opportunities.
"With the LEGO Foundation's extraordinary award, Sesame Workshop and our partners have an unprecedented opportunity to reach and teach some of the world's most vulnerable children by harnessing the power of learning through play," says Jeffrey D. Dunn, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. "The global refugee crisis is the humanitarian issue of our time, and we are deeply humbled by the trust the LEGO Foundation has placed in us to uplift the lives of children affected by conflict. Together with our partners at BRAC, the IRC, and NYU, we can forge a legacy for children worldwide affected by displacement, today and for generations to come."
Sesame Workshop will use the cash injection to implement quality, play-based early childhood interventions, working in partnership with BRAC and the International Rescue Committee. Half of the world’s 25 million refugees are children and experience displacement for 10 years on average. It means millions of youngsters grow up without the play experiences that can help mitigate the potentially damaging and life altering trauma.
"This partnership marks the first step of the LEGO Foundation's commitment to work within the humanitarian field to support children's holistic development that incorporates learning through play,” says Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, Chairman of the LEGO Foundation Board and fourth generation owner of the LEGO Group.
He hopes the move will inspire others to get behind the cause and that children impacted by these crises “will have opportunities to benefit from learning through play and also develop the skills needed for them to thrive in the future”.
"Research shows that not only is play vital for children's psychological, emotional and cognitive health and development, but it also hones the resilience they need to overcome adversity and build their futures,” adds John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation. “By providing play-based learning to children in crisis, we can help mitigate the detrimental, long term effects of displacement and trauma, ultimately giving a generation of refugee children a path forward.”
Sesame Workshop will receive the $100 million grant over a five-year period, with funds released as established milestones are met.